Teiji Ito

Teiji Ito: Meshes, Music for Films and Theater

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AllMusic Review by

\This CD is a fascinating collection of three scores by Teiji Ito. Ito's 1959 score for his wife Maya Deren's independent cinema classic Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) is for flute, acoustic guitar, cello, sho (Japanese mouth organ), koto, hichiriki (oboe), voice, bell, and drums. Skilled in traditional Japanese music, contemporary classical, Haitian and African traditions, Ito played all of the instruments himself, utilizing home recording techniques common now, but rare in 1959. The surreal imagery in lush black and white explores lateral thinking -- ordinary objects will suddenly take on sinister meanings, directions are suddenly reversed in the labyrinthian house, and so on. Ito utilizes simple sounds to create the perfect impression: a fast drum as Maya chases after a key that has fallen down the steps, and soon, to a droning voice and a breathy cello, she experiences in gradual tunnelvision a chilling series of samsaric, involuted recurrences. Ito's soundtrack for Deren's film The Very Eye of Night (1952-59) is scored for flute, clarinets, saron or gangsa (an Indonesian bronze metallophone), a wooden xylophone, and various drums. Beautiful modal scales, wild drumming, and chorale-like passages are all realized from this ensemble. Dancers, representing mythological characters fly through the nighttime sky, ancient and free-spirited, and, at times, ceremonial. Axis Mundi (The Center of the World) (1982) was created for the theatre work Savages by Christopher Hampton, and is scored for voices and a variety of world instruments including rattles, didjeridus, whistles, ratchets, drums, flutes, bells, conch shells, berimbau (a Brazilian monochord), shakers, kazoos and duckcalls, and mbira (the African thumb piano). Lyrical laments, shamanistic chants, a field of crickets, arabesques, trills and calls, monsters prowling the night (a bullroarer), and a sound like a classic freight train (multiple flutes) are all realized by this ensemble.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 11:44
2 13:17
3
feat: Genji Ito
32:50
blue highlight denotes track pick